As I fight cable news overload and refine my viewing, I still hang on to a few journalists for insights and brain food. These are difficult days.
Since March, many of us have had too much time on our hands. At first, I was drawn to cable news for pandemic information. But in short order, I became hooked by live coverage of demonstrations and political division. Since March, watching the disintegration of American exceptionalism has been addictive.
About a month ago, I decided to fight cable news overload. I now have it down from six hours to one hour a daily. Mainly, I record a few news and commentary blocks and cherry pick the most interesting segments. Proving again the importance of DVR.
Why should I fight cable news overload? First, my wife asks why I would want to watch all that “doom and gloom”. Fair question. Second, watching politicians triggers depression. Mainly Trump, but I won’t let McConnell, Pelosi and their echo-chambers off the hook, either. Biden is a more decent guy, but I don’t have much confidence in the Democrats. Third, ninety-percent of cable news is just redundant recycling of political silliness. Real news is sparse.
I don’t watch much Canadian cable news. To fill time, they can’t go more than ten minutes without some special interest advocate or social worker telling us the sky is falling. No thanks.
One of the dangers I faced as a professional management consultant was being great at diagnosing a problem but no good at solving the problem. And that, in essence, is the failure of cable news: unable to translate diagnosis into sensible, actionable solutions. But to be fair, not many leaders are capable of implementing solutions, anyway.
Fight Cable News Overload
So, as I fight cable news overload, I have narrowed down my choices for daily and weekly opinion shows. On the daily front, I enjoy pretty straight talk from Chris Cuomo on CNN. I guess I appreciate New York tough. Chris can be tough on his guests. I particularly like the way he lists counterpoints and challenges the guest to deal with these. His interview with Mary Trump was particularly good.
Over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow provides my evening ironic smile. She is probably the best contemporary story-teller on cable news. Not surprisingly, her doctorate in political science comes through with depth and charm.
On the weekly side, Fareed Zakaria Global Public Square provides an up-level blend of domestic and global issues Sunday mornings on CNN. Fareed demonstrates an even-handed foreign policy orientation that keeps me in touch with the world. At roughly the same time, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace gives me an alternative perspective. He is a long-standing political journalist that provides his network with at least an ounce of credibility, i.e. his recent interview with Trump.
What makes me retain these four as I fight cable news overload? Well, I would be happy to have each over for supper and conversation.